New Year’s Resolution For Me, Slider the Cat

Slider_LaserGame

“Slider, have you made a New Year’s Resolution for 2014?”, my owner asked last night. I paused, contemplating my ample belly rolls, and weakly meowed “Yes”.  Maybe dropping a couple pounds by Valentine’s day could be the start of my resolution: to fit under the sofa so that I can catch the laser dot!

How to begin? A cat, by nature, does not walk, run, or do any form of exercise unless motivated by food! It is so misleading, one TINY Fancy Feast Tuna  treat  has 34 calories! Snacks now being my nemesis, I vowed to stick with healthy dry Purina and get regular exercise… chasing the LASER DOT.

Hate to admit it, but I rather enjoy racing after the taunting red light as it darts around the carpet, up the wall, and then under the sofa. It always ends up hiding under furniture in the living room – does it know I am a few pounds too wide to fit?

This new exercise regiment I will fondly call: “Couch to Laser-thin.”

The strategy is:

1. First, stalk the light, tail twitching for maximum calorie burning.

2. Next, pounce using 10 Joules of energy for effect. This causes the laser dot to jolt forward, surprised by the power of the pounce!

3. Finally, race after the demon dot for 20 seconds, building up by 10 second intervals daily.
I promise, you WILL catch it… one of these days!!

(Note to my person: I get annoyed when I cannot catch the laser dot so you may want to have it end up on something I can attack, like a toy or scratching post!)

(Second note: Did you know the Kong Laser Cat toy is only $2.60 on one of my favorite websites: www.chewy.com)

Yawn, I’ll just play laser on my iPhone, hehe.

How to Get That Healthy Winter Fur Coat (for your dog, not you)!

Yorkshire terrier

What is a dog owner to do with the havoc this weather wrecks on your dog’s fur coat? This winter the temperature is swinging between sunny/60  and windy/17 degrees! Here are three things to consider for a healthy fur coat: bathing, grooming, and diet.

1. BATHING
Dogs should really only be bathed twice a year – overbathing drys the skin and coat.
You can always go the easy route and do a quick wash-cloth wipe down for your furry baby. One commercial wipe is Earthbath All Natural Hypo-Allergenic and Fragrance Free or use plain old baby wipes.

When washing, use either a dog shampoo or a baby shampoo. These won’t hurt their eyes and is non-toxic. Vet’s recommend shampoos like: Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo,  Halo Cloud Nine herbal shampoo, Vet Solutions Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo, and 1-800-Pet meds even has their own moisture shampoo!

The ASPCA has the following statement:
” Because of their activities, breed types, or individual skin or coat types, some dogs need baths more often than others. Other dogs spend lots of time outdoors and get dirty fast. However, if you bathe your dog too often, you might cause skin irritation and flaking, so be sure to check with your dog’s veterinarian to find out how frequently you should give your dog baths”.

It is recommended by Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer) that you “bathe a dog with normal skin once a month with dog shampoo or human baby shampoo. If you want to bathe more often than that, use a soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to prevent the skin from becoming dry. Unless a dog has skin problems, there is no specific need to bathe the dog except to make him a more enjoyable (smelling) companion.”

2.GROOMING
Your dog’s coat has natural oils on his skin, and brushing every day helps spread those oils throughout the coat,  keeps it shiny, and removes any dirt/burrs. Bristle brushes can be used on all fur. For short fur, Four Paws Magic Coat Red Pet Love Glove or a close-spaced bristle brush. For Medium fur, a pin brush to get the strays or a slicker brush with fine wire bristles to remove mats and tangles. For Long fur, a wire pin brush or medium bristle work best, although, there is the Furminator Deshedder if you really want to get the undercoat fur.

3. DIET
You don’t want a dull coat or dandruff, so making sure your dog EATS well is important. Healthy fats play an important role in keeping your dog’s coat in good condition. If your dog has dry skin in the winter, try adding Olive Oil to his food. Vegetable oils are also a source of omega-6 fatty acids. Pet stores sell omega-6 supplements, but “honestly, sunflower oil or safflower oil works fine,”Veterinary Partner.com says. For a small dog, stir in one teaspoon of oil per meal. For a large dog, give one tablespoon per meal.

If you need pet sitting in the Raleigh, Cary, Apex, NC area…

Call Four Paws Pet Sitting Services (919) 388-PAWS

Our Vacation visits include lots of love and brushing too!

Thank you Nicole B., one of our pet sitters in Cary, NC for writing this article.

Helping Cats Live In Harmony

kitkats

Cats, like people, don’t always get along with one another. Before you bring home a new cat talk to your vet or pet sitter. These professional animal lovers can help you decide if a new cat will get along with your current pets. In most cases, the pets work things out amongst themselves. Here are some tips that you can use to increase the peace among your cat friends.

When you introduce a new feline member of the family, you can expect some personality conflicts. Kittens are going to annoy older cats, and mischievous cats will thoroughly enjoy taunting the more easy-going cats in the family. This behavior is normal. You can try to head off problems by gradually introducing the new cat or cats to established pets in the household. You may put the new cat in a crate or spare bedroom and let the cats hear and smell each other before they meet face to face. Next, try to allow the cats to see one another without being able to interact. This gives the cats a chance to get used to the idea of a new friend.

Once the cats have seen each other from afar, you can let them be together in a neutral room while you are present. Make sure that the new cat has its own food dish and litter box. This can prevent territorial arguments. Be prepared for hissing, spitting, swiping, or a total lack of acknowledgment. Cats will not fight to the death as dogs do. If they fight, they will give it their best shot and then someone will back down. It is advisable to make sure that cats with claws have had a nail trim before being exposed to new pets.

Make sure that you don’t ignore your other pets when you bring a new one home. Jealously is a major reason that fights start. If anything, give your established pet more attention, while the new one explores his/her new home. You can also provide distraction by using toys to play with the cats. Having fun is a relaxing way to break the ice.

If you need to go away, have a pet sitter come to your home rather than boarding your cats. They will be happier and much more comfortable in their own surrounding. It is stressful, especially for a new pet to go to another new environment, even for a brief period of time.

If a cat begins to exhibit aggressive behavior for no apparent reason, the owner needs to watch their pet carefully to determine what the cause of the problem is. Observe carefully to see if you can pinpoint a pattern to the aggression. For example, does it happen around mealtimes or when you are giving attention to the cats. If the conflict seems to be over food, attention, or sleeping quarters, try to provide a variety of options. Increase the number of food bowls, cat beds, and litter boxes. Offer plenty of vertical spaces and hiding places such as cat trees. Something as simple as a cardboard box may be appreciated. Remember that cats enjoy quiet, secluded places to relax. If conflicts are not about food, you can use food, treats, and mealtimes to help the cats develop a positive association with being near one another. Feed close to one another if they will tolerate it and reward them with treats for not showing aggression.

Feline pheromones such as Feliway can help calm cats and facilitate their acceptance of other cats. If you cannot figure out why your cat is exhibiting aggression, consult your veterinarian. Your pet may be ill and need medical attention. Aggression is a common sign of discomfort or pain. You should separate your cats if any of the following occurs:

  • The cats have injured one another, requiring medical care.
  • One cat becomes ill because of stress from being bullied.
  • One cat begins to hide, and a medical condition has been ruled out.

Looking for a cat sitter in the Raleigh, Cary, NC area?

Call Four Paws Pet Sitting Services! (919) 388-PAWS

My Dog is Destructive, Help!

Destructive-pup

Destructive behavior comes in many forms, from chewing a plant to total destruction of a room. It is one of the leading causes of overcrowded animal shelters.

Try to determine why your dog is being destructive

  • Boredom is the number one cause of destructive behavior. Many suburban dogs lack the opportunities to explore and socialize
  • Young dogs will frequently chew due to teething. They don’t know the difference between an expensive piece of furniture and any other piece of wood.
  • Playing tug of war excessively with an excitable dog or with a breed which has a tendency to hang onto things (ie. Terriers) will make a dog much more likely to play tug of war with household curtains, rugs, etc!
  • Walk your dog at least once per day, even if you have a fenced area
  • Exercise your dog off-lead whenever possible in a safe area, or use a long lead
  • Try to go to different places with your dog to allow for variety and a opportunity to explore
  • Train your dog regularly to give him/her work to do
  • Allow your dog regular contact with other dogs to allow him/her social interaction with peers
  • Play with your dog regularly and spend quality time with him/her
  • If you work long hours, consider having a pet sitter or neighbor come over to play with your dog
  • Provide lots of mental stimulation via exercise, toys, and social opportunities
  • Consider putting in a dog door
  • Consider leaving a radio or television on
  • Think about getting a companion dog or cat if you have a single dog household.

Prevention and Cure

Remember that dogs are social and emotional beings.

They need stimulation and opportunities to interact with other animals and people.

If you provide activities for your dog, you will keep them so busy that they will have less time or inclination to exhibit destructive behavior.

If you work long hours, consider hiring a professional dog walker. This will really help with breaking up the boredom for your pup and give him much needed exercise.

Make sure your are using a company that is reliable, bonded and insured.

What Will Happen To My Pets If I Die?

dog_wheelchairNo one wants to think about death or disability. Of course, if you die, you are beyond the worry and care of everyday living. But we must consider those who we are leaving behind. Pets are the part of our family that we sometimes fail to make plans for. As I have gotten older, I am becoming more concerned with the well-being of my pets if something happens to me. Maybe I am more concerned than some, because I have many pets. I recently graduated from Paralegal school and am working in a law firm that is primarily focused on wills, estates, and guardianships. We have many elderly clients and it has become abundantly clear to me that few people really understand how to plan for the possibility that they may die unexpectedly or be physically or financially unable to care for their pets. The unfortunate thing is that pets are the ones who suffer when people fail to make the appropriate arrangements for their care.
If you are fortunate enough to have family members who are willing to take in your pets, remember to put something in writing, preferably in a will or trust. Make sure that the family member or friend is agreeable and able to take on the responsibility, not just trying to pacify you. If you are financially able, set up financial arrangements for your pet’s care. Contact your vet and inform them of your wishes. It is a good idea to give them copies of paperwork that involves the pet’s history and medical care. Most attorneys who handle Wills and Estates can help you with details and documents. There is a specialty of law called Animal Law. Someone who specializes should be able to help you, or can refer you. The North Carolina Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service to help you get the attorney that best suits your needs. Talk to your pet-loving friends and ask them what their plans are. You can really get some great feedback that way.
If you have the means, consider leaving money or property to a local rescue group or shelter. You can even set up a grant if you have the time and inclination. Many people give money to veterinary hospitals to care for pets in cases where clients run out of funds for their care. The vet in charge can choose who to give funds to based on criteria set by you and can account to your estate for the expenditure of funds. If your pet is a favorite at the vet hospital, put out feelers to the doctors and vet staff. You would be amazed at the networking in the veterinary community. I know of many cases in which veterinary staff ended up adopting client’s pets. I also know several doctors whose clients have left their pets to the doctor in their will.

What happens if you become disabled and have no family or friends to assist you with pet care? You may consider contacting a rescue group. Of course, the shelter is a option, but usually a poor one and your pet’s future will be uncertain. You may be able to find a temporary foster home until a more permanent “forever” home is available. Unfortunately, the options for pet care are almost always dependant on finances. It is still important to plan for the unthinkable. Do whatever you are able to. Even a shaky plan is better than no plan at all. I cannot advise anyone on how they need to plan, but I hope that I have put the seed in your mind and given you something to think seriously about. Whatever you decide to do, communicate it to your family and other loved ones, veterinary staff and doctors. Reach out to others. NETWORK, NETWORK,NETWORK! Don’t let the term “network” intimidate you. All networking means is that you talk to someone who knows someone who knows someone…on and on.
The internet is a vast source of knowledge and will allow you to educate yourself about the options available to you and it will allow you to reach people that you might not communicate with otherwise. Don’t forget to check out the chat rooms and forums. LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent social networking sites and I believe you will find some solution to your needs whatever they may be. Let me leave you with this final comment: There is a person or family for every pet. If you can let people know that you need assistance, someone will help you. I have discovered that people admire those who plan ahead, especially when they are trying to make sure their pets are cared for. If you can share your story, it will tug at someone’s heartstrings and you will be amazed at the results.
Thank you Marie Myatt for writing this article.
Marie is also a Four Paws pet sitter.

Need Pet Sitting?

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Decorate Your Home, But Pet Owners Beware!

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Ornamental plants are a great way to dress up the house during the holidays. Pet owners should be aware however, that many of these common plants are poisonous to pets.
Toxicity ranges from mild to severe, and the amount of plant consumed determines how sick a pet may become. In general, gastrointestinal upset is the most common symptom, but if enough plant material is ingested, symptoms can be more severe and a veterinarian may need to be consulted. Naturally curious puppies and kittens are most often at greatest risk for plant poisonings.

Poinsettia Plant

Many people associate the Poinsettia plant with extreme toxicity, but this is not true. The sap of Poinsettias is considered to be mildly toxic, and may cause nausea or vomiting if ingested, but not death.

Mistletoe and Holly

A couple of holiday plants, specifically Mistletoe and Holly are considered to be moderately to severely toxic, and you should call your veterinarian or poison control center immediately for specific advice.

Lilies and Daffodils
Additionally, plant bulb kits featuring Amaryllis and other plants in the lily family, are popular gift items at this time of year. Pet owners should be aware that these plants are extremely toxic for cats, sometimes with severe symptoms. Daffodils are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Christmas Tree
Don’t forget about the Christmas tree. Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic. The fir tree oils can be irritating to the mouth and stomach. The tree needles are not easily digested, possibly causing GI irritation. The amount of trouble depends on how much is consumed.

Stay Safe/ Watch Your Plants and Your Pets

Monitor your pet’s interest in the plants. To be 100% safe, do not bring toxic live plants into your home. If unsure about a plant, look it up to check for toxicity. Monitor your pet’s interest in eating plants, and place plants out of reach.

Choosing The Right Dog Breed For Your Home

puppiesAre you considering bringing a new dog into your home, but can’t decide which breed best suits you?

Here are some things you need to consider:

Size

What size dog are you looking for?

Pocket: Under 5 lbs.

Tiny: 5 to 12 lbs.

Miniature: 13 to 25 lbs.

Small: 26 to 39 lbs.

Medium: 40 to 59 lbs.
Large: 60 to 89 lbs.

Very large: 90 to 105 lbs.
Enormous: 105 lbs.

Space

The size of your home should be a large part of what type of dog you decide on.

Apartments or Condos are more suited for smaller breeds.

A home with a fenced in yard is ideal for larger breeds.

Activity Level

How much time do you have to devote to the exercising of your ‘Furry Friend’?

Dogs need to have plenty of daily outdoor time and exercise.

Be sure you are ready to put in the time.

Regular exercise can help prevent aggression, insecurities and boredom for dogs.

Coat Type and Length of Hair

What texture type and length are you looking for?  Straight, Wavy/ Wiry, Curly/Corded, Soft, Bristly or Silky?

What length do you want? Short, Medium, Long or Double Coated?

How much a dog sheds depends on the breed.

Care

Care for a dog requires regular Veterinarian visits, baths, nail trimming, teeth cleaning and extra grooming for some breeds.

These are higher maintenance and need to be combed daily and groomed on a regular basis.

Be sure you are ready to commit to the breeds requirements.

Children Appropriate

Is the dog “Kid Friendly” or are the Children “Dog Friendly”?

Some breeds are best suited for children above the age of 4.

Be sure to research the breed you are considering to make sure they are “Kid Friendly” if you have small children.

Reason for Getting Your Canine Friend?

Companionship for you?

Companionship for another pet?

Guard Dog?

Popularity of Breed?

Rescue?

Sociability

Are you looking for a breed that is more sociable or more independent?

Reviewing these points can help you make the best choice of dog breed for your family and situation.

We at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services are here for your dog walking and pet sitting needs.

Does Your Dog Have A Routine?

DSCN0372-copy-300x225Routine is a critical part in developing an obedient, stress-free dog.

Dogs need a structure to feel secure and to behave appropriately.

Knowing when they will be fed, walked and played with on a regular basis is key to making your dog feel more relaxed and secure.

Without routine your dog will not adapt well to life changes.

Some situations that could disrupt your dog’s routine and cause stress are:

  • Traveling
  • New Home/New Owner
  • Boredom
  • Your Absence
  • New Family Member or Visitor
  • Thunder/Fireworks/Loud Noises
  • New Pet
  • Environmental Changes

You can look to pet sitters to help with your dog’s routine when you can’t be there.

Pet sitters can come in and walk your dog and provide exercise as well as feed your dog on a timely basis when you have to work long hours.

Here are some ways you can help your dog in stressful situations:

  • Crate Trained. Once accustomed, a crate becomes a place your dog can always count on to feel safe in
  • Confinement. If you are having a gathering, or introducing new people into the home, confine your dog to one room where they have a bed or crate. This makes them feel safe, especially if they are territorial.
  • There are some new products out (Shirts) for dogs that have anxiety caused by loud noises. Examples: fireworks, thunder etc. These shirts wrap the dog as if they were being held and help them feel more secure. Some dogs react well to these products.

By maintaining the daily routine in your dog’s life and keeping them healthy, active, mentally stimulated and well fed, you will go a long way toward preventing or treating any stress they may encounter.

If you are in the Raleigh, NC area, we at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services offer mid day dog walks at a discounted price for 5 days a week.

We will be glad to help you keep your pets in a routine!

Give us a call. 919-388-7297 or Request Info

 

 

Are Your Pets Ready For Halloween?

Halloween often can be a stressful time for your pets.

The noise and commotion of  ‘Trick or Treaters”, the different costumes and a disruption in your pet’s daily schedule means that pet guardians need to take special care with their animals when preparing for Halloween festivities.

All pet owners who plan to hand out candy need to be sure that their dog or cat is secure as this is an opportunity for them to escape.

It is very important that all their pets are wearing collars with identification tags.

Is your pet micro chipped? If so, do you know the company and the chip #?

Candy should be kept out of a pet’s reach. Many types of candy, especially chocolate can be harmful to pets.

Jack O’lanterns can be fun and festive, but pet owners need to be careful, since a darting cat or dog can accidentally tip the pumpkins over and create a fire hazard or self-injury.

For pet owners who like to place dogs and cats in costumes, make sure the costume is not restrictive or overly annoying to a pet. Pet owners should also be careful of anything on a costume that dangles so a pet will not choke.

Halloween can be fun, but also dangerous for pets. Remember these helpful safety tips to keep your pets safe.

Going away and need a pet sitter? We provide loving, caring and safe pet sitting.

Give us a call at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services.

919-388-PAWS (7297)

Request Info and We will Book your FREE Consultation.

We cover Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Garner, NC

Reduce Costs Without Compromising Your Pet’s Health

veterinarianWe all love our four legged family members, but the costs of keeping them healthy can add up quickly.  You can significantly decrease your costs by using preventive measures and by making wise spending decisions.

  1. Neutering your pet decreases the risk of mammary or prostate cancer by almost 75%. Reproductive diseases are often life threatening and costly to treat. For example, a diagnostic workup and hospitalization for neutering and prostate surgery may cost $1,200 or more, considerably more than a routine neuter.
  2. Heartworms and intestinal worms are hard on your pet’s body-and your checkbook. So, avoid them by using monthly preventive. Most heartworm preventives offer protection from intestinal parasites too. Check with your veterinarian to see what preventive is most appropriate for your pet.
  3. Shop around for the best prices on pet medication. It may be convenient to buy medicines from your vet, but you may save money by asking for a prescription to take to your local pharmacy. You may also save money by buying fewer pills with stronger doses ( If the pill can be split appropriately). For example, if your dog takes a 25 mg pill twice daily, you may  save  by giving ½ of a scored 50 mg pill. Please note that splitting tablets is only effective if the contents are evenly distributed throughout them. Ask  your  vet or pharmacist to be sure.
  4. Don’t over feed your pets. Studies have shown that pets that eat less live longer and are better able to resist chronic diseases such as arthritis. Feed high quality food and you may be able to use less. Make sure that you inform your pet sitterof the proper amount of food that your pet should have while you are away. Do not forget to provide appropriate measuring cups.
  5. Don’t neglect grooming. If you keep your pet’s hair, nails, and anal glands in good shape, you will prevent broken nails, skin infections, and ruptured anal glands. Each of these conditions are easily prevented, but can be costly to treat.
  6. Bring your pets inside as much as possible, particularly cats as they are prone to being hit by car and having fight injuries. In addition, by spending more time with your pet, you can readily identify changes that may indicate illness or injury.
  7. Consider using a pet sitting service, rather than boarding.  Pet sitters tend to be less expensive than taking your pet to a boarding facility. In addition, your pet is not exposed to other potentially sick pets.  Did you know that pet sittingservices offer mid- day dog walks and overnight pet visits? For owners that work long hours, or who may need to take brief overnight trips, pet sittingservices offer a host of convenient options for the pet owner.

Going away and need a pet sitter?

Give us a call at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services.

(919) 388-7297  Register Now and we will call you to Book your FREE Consultation.

We cover Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Garner, NC